Salvation and Damnation
As several characters note in the novel, a person's physical life is of secondary importance to the person's eternal life, which can be jeopardized if the person is made evil by a vampire like Dracula. Professor Van Helsing says, when he is explaining why they must kill the vampire Lucy, "But of the most blessed of all, when this now Un-Dead be made to rest as true dead, then the soul of the poor lady whom we love shall again be free." Even characters that are of questionable goodness, such as the mental patient, R. M. Renfield, realize that, although they can find immortality by being a vampire, they cannot find salvation. Renfield says, when he is begging Dr. Seward to let him go, not explaining that he is afraid of his master, Dracula: "Don't you know that I am sane and earnest now; that I am no lunatic in a mad fit, but a sane man fighting for his soul?" When Mina is distraught after realizing that Dracula has started to turn her into a vampire, Van Helsing warns her to stay alive if she wants to achieve her salvation. "Until the other, who has fouled your sweet life, is true dead you must not die; for if he is still with the quick Un-dead, your death would make you even as he is."
Roles of Men and Women
The novel underscores the expected roles of men and women in Victorian times. Women were expected to be gentle and ladylike and, most of all, subservient to men. For example, in one of her letters, Lucy notes, "My dear Mina, why are men so noble when we women are so little worthy of them?" Lucy is frustrated that she has to choose between her three suitors and does not wish to hurt any one of them by saying no. Lucy says, "Why can't they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble? But this is heresy, and I must not say it." Women are expected to live for their husbands, so much so that Mina practices her shorthand while Jonathan is away so that she can assist him when he gets back. Mina says, "When we are married I shall be able to be...
(The entire section is 839 words.)